Thursday, August 28, 2008

Washington and "big boy" beds

Well, after a 3 hour plane delay, Alec and I made it safe to Washington for our visit. We're "watching" my two younger sisters, aged 17 and 9, while my parents are away. Its fun to have some time alone with them and its wonderful to be home again... I love it here. Its not fun chasing Alec around constantly trying to say "No" in different words to all the off-limit things he wants to play with. Alec's new favorite word is "No" and he takes chances to say it allllll the time. I hoped this stage would never come, but I guess it has.

In other Alec news, we've moved him to a big twin bed! It is pretty high off the ground so we got a bed rail and it does the job just fine. We didn't have any issues with him getting out of his bed at first because I think the bed was so high (he has to use a step stool to get up and down) it was too intimidating to climb out. Now that he's mastered the climbing process, he has had one episode of coming out of his room before sleeping at nap time. I promptly put him (crying) into his crib for the rest of the nap and he hasn't done it since. So, so far, so good, but I'm sure we'll have more issues later on. Plus, now that we're away from home there is no bed-railed twin for him to sleep in, so its back in the crib and he's not liked it much. In fact, yesterday for his nap I eventually moved him onto the big king sized bed I've been sleeping on for his nap, which he seemed to like. I didn't bring my camera cord to transfer pictures onto this computer so we'll have to wait for pictures either until Chris comes (and he brings the cord) or until we get home to California. Just rest assured there will be cute pictures of Alec and family at the zoo and park!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Quiet Book

Well, I've been asked to take pictures of my quiet book I made, and I've been holding off because its not "finished," although I doubt I'll ever get to the point where it looks like what I was wanting it to look like. So because I'm crazy, I'll do more than post pictures I'll critique each page including what I'd do different so that if anyone is tempted to replicate something they see (which is just fine with me) they can learn from my mistakes. This will probably be a LONG post so I apologize in advance to most of you out there who, understandably, don't care too much about details such as these.

Overall - I picked activities that I know my son likes, and tried to build a page around it. I also tried to make pages so that important/hard to replace pieces can't be lost. Next time, I'd make the pages smaller so that it fits on kid's laps better, probably an 10''x 10'' finished page is a good size in my opinion, since mine are 12x12. I'd either have the pages lined with a single color of bias tape, or I'd have every page a different color.

Cover - This cover is just a stand in until I make the real one. The real one will be stiffer, like the pages, with a thin layer of batting in between two sheets of material. It will have handles and possibly backpack straps. Also I will have metal rings connecting the pages, not ribbon.

Page 1 "Buckle Horse" - There are different textures on this page: velvet, canvas, soft cotton, rope, and fridge. The cloud moves left and right to hide/show the sun. The horse's saddle flaps and buckles down. While the buckle is too hard for my 18 month old, it will eventually be doable for him, maybe when he's 3ish.

Pages 2 & 3 "Glove" and "Button Butterflies" - The gloves are big enough for an adult hand to fit in, and are connected so fingers from one hand can tickle fingers on the other. The butterflies are stuffed with Smartie wrappers so they make crinkle sounds, button on/off, are connected with a string to the page, and can be stored in the net.

Pages 4 & 5 "Velcro Balloons" and "Shoe Laces" - The balloons velcro on/off, are matched by color and are attached via their strings to the clowns hand. Next time, I'd have longer strings so the kids have more to work with. The shoe was actually an old lace-up shirt cut in the shape of a shoe with some added trimmings. I want to get stiffer shoe laces with plastic on the ends for easier lacing.

Pages 6 & 7 "Car Track" - The colored corners are pockets for 4 match-box sized cars. The track has 'bumps' (hidden beans hand-sewed in place) a tunnel, and cones to maneuver around. This is by far the favorite page. I might add a velcro-on jump/ramp leading into the tunnel.

Pages 8 & 9 "ISpy Wheel" and "Wallet" - The wheels are just laminated paper and spin around a button. The yellowish covering snaps open at the bottom to replace/switch wheels. I have three different themed wheels: seasons, baby, and bugs. The point is to ask the child to find something and they turn the wheel until they find it. Or it can be a naming game to name all the items on each picture. The wallet page is one of my husband's old pants with a pocket that I chained my old wallet to. The wallet has fake credit cards that Alec loves to slip in and out of the pockets.

Pages 10 & 11 "Magnet Board" - One page has a big pocket to hold all the manipulatives in. The opposite page has a thin sheet of magnetic metal (I walked around the hardware store with a fridge magnet touching it to every thin sheet of metal I saw in hope it was magnetic.) I have buttons, wooden bugs, and laminated paper-dollish manipulatives, all with magnets glued on the back. Next time I'd do lots of individual pockets, some closed by zippers for smaller manipulatives, so as to them more contained.

Pages 12 & 13 "Beads" and "Zoo Animals" - Painted wooden beans are strung on a bent piece of wire hanger. Alec loves this page. Next time I wouldn't bend a loop-dee-loop into the wire so that the book lays flatter. On the zoo page, cards with animals on them are laminated so they can slide underneath the ribbons acting as cage bars. Next time I'll glue a piece of plastic underneath the ribbons because the cards are easily caught and Alec gets frustrated quickly with them.

Page 14 "Flap House" - Behind the shutters, windows and door are plastic sleeves with printed off pictures of people Alec knows and loves.

Unfinished Pages 15 & 16 - "Zipper Backpack" and "Buckle Teddy" A backpack with zipper for storage of special treats (like cheerios) or replaceable manipulatives like stickers or foam shapes. An extra thin teddy bear that can be buckled into a baby seat. Alec loves to do the snap-in plastic buckles usually found on strollers, or high-chairs, or bouncy-seats.

Monday, August 11, 2008

catch up

I know its been a while and I know most of you don't care or already know about our summer fun, but heres a little catch up. Our Cedar City, UT trip was a blast. We loved all the plays we saw at the Shakespeare Festival, especially Cyrano. Between plays, we swam in the pool and hung out with family. AGA's infamous ILCRICC tournament was only a 2 day event this year, and Alec, Grandma, Great-grandma, Aunt Brittany and I made it to the 18th green to watch Thom and Chris (tied for the lead after 17) putt. Thom pulled off the win by 1 stroke. During our whole trip, the only time we got out the camera was at the golf course.

My birthday was the next day after we got back from Cedar City. Chris let me relax all day and had a surprise get together with friends for cake and ice cream that evening. My good friends Joni and Amanda made the most amazing cookie ice cream "cake." It tasted even better than it looked, and as you can see in this picture, it looked GOOD.

We also had a Pioneer Day Activity that the nursery kids were invited to, so we took Alec and he LOVED bobbing for apples. He actually got it by picking the apple up by the stem! Cute boy...

We went to a fun park where water squirted up and as always Alec had no fear of getting soaked and really enjoyed watching Chris balance our mini beach ball in the shooting streams.

We cut Alec's hair again, but this time we put a recent home video on for him to watch/keep still. I was able to do a pretty thorough job, and I think he looks super adorable.

A recent bike riding adventure with our friends took us at the bay! It was 12 miles round trip and let me tell you, being almost 7 months pregnant I had major bum soreness for a few days after. Since there was no shade where stopped to have lunch, we rigged up a little tent which Alec seemed to like. We've really enjoyed our summer so far and are looking forward for all the fun adventures that Fall will bring.